Save fuel – and money – with green driving tips

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When the winter snow settles in, it’s harder than ever to leave the heat of your warm car to fill the tank – standing outside in the snow/sleet/rain shivering every time a cold blast of wind blows down your neck. And with gas prices still high, you really don’t want to be making frequent repeated trips to the pump.

But you can reduce your gasoline bill and the amount of fuel your car burns, which can also help eliminate some of the trips to the gas station. Try these gas saving tips to help extend the time between your fuel purchases this winter:

* Watch the way you drive. By observing the speed limit and keeping your driving steady (i.e. slowing down for signals well in advance, not heavily accelerating from stops and even using cruise control on long distances), you can lower your gas usage by 33 percent at highway speeds and 5 percent with city driving, according to Practicing green driving tips also can make you a safer driver on the road as well.

* Empty and clean out your car. If you have clothes, books, papers, food and other junk cluttering your car or the trunk, get it cleaned out. The weight of all those items can reduce your gas mileage. Make sure you do keep important car safety items like a spare tire, extra windshield wiper fluid, a car scraper and an emergency kit in the car in case you were to need those supplies. But get rid of everything else, because your car shouldn’t be an extension of your closet.

* Use the correct fuel. If your car doesn’t require the higher octane gas, then don’t waste your money at the pump buying it. The Federal Trade Commission recommends using the regular octane gasoline, unless your owner’s manual recommends otherwise, or your engine is knocking.

* Save fuel with good planning. If you’re heading out the door to run a bunch of errands, plan ahead for the most efficient route so you don’t waste gasoline (and time) by backtracking. And if you need to go a certain route on a frequent basis (to work, the gym, church or a meeting location), consider carpooling or taking public transportation.

Following these fuel saving tips can help you save money and reduce the number of times you’ll be shivering at the gas pumps this cold winter season. Plus, you’ll also be contributing to a greener environment and reducing your carbon footprint.